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Emotional Participation: the use of the observer’s emotions as a methodological tool when studying professional stage actors rehearsing a role for the stage
Stockholm University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Sociology.ORCID iD: 0000-0003-3522-4963
2009 (English)In: Nordic Theatre Studies, ISSN 0904-6380, Vol. 21, 29-38 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

This contribution aims to identify and clarify emotional aspects of conducting observation studies. The researcher, in most cases, does not want to interfere with or influence the phenomenon under observation, but uses her/himself as a tool to collect material. Even if the observer does not participate verbally, s/he can be emotionally participative using her/his emotions as a methodological tool, generating reflections and insights relative to the situations and persons that are the object of observation. Earlier contributions from social anthropology and psychotherapy are discussed and compared to examples from observations on the rehearsals of two theatre productions. One crucial point is that the researcher’s emotions can be more or less congruent with the situation at hand; a match as well as a mis-match can be used as information in the research process. Furthermore, the emotional expressions displayed by professional actors can be more or less emotionally anchored within them. Do the observer’s feelings correlate with the research subjects’ felt emotions or their portrayed emotions? Reflections on these issues can be used in interviews with research subjects to attain a more nuanced and tangible interpretation of the studied phenomenon.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Stockholm: Association of Nordic Theatre Scholars , 2009. Vol. 21, 29-38 p.
Keyword [en]
theatre studies, participant observation, emotions, methodology
National Category
Research subject
URN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-35992ISI: 000278989800004OAI: diva2:288489
Available from: 2011-10-04 Created: 2010-01-21 Last updated: 2015-11-02Bibliographically approved

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Bergman Blix, Stina
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